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Roseville to reconsider marijuana smell nuisance

Councilmembers postponed vote when ordinance discussed in August
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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The Roseville City Council will reconsider a proposed ordinance to prohibit backyard medical marijuana plants.

The item was introduced to the council in July and essentially shelved in August when councilmembers postponed the vote.

Under Proposition 215, California patients with a valid doctor’s recommendation have the right to possess and grow pot for personal medical use. Cities have been able to regulate how, when and where medical marijuana is grown.

During the Feb. 15 council meeting, Roseville resident Jack Wallace asked the council to bring back the proposal because of citizens’ concerns over the “skunk-like” odor emitting from the backyard cultivation of marijuana.

“It’s a public nuisance,” Wallace said. “Several other cities, including Rocklin, have enacted similar ordinances.”

He said City Manager Ray Kerridge’s direction to staff to refer all complaints to the Placer County Air Pollution Control District isn’t a sufficient response to residents’ concerns.

Mayor Pauline Roccucci, Vice Mayor Susan Rohan and Councilwoman Carol Garcia agreed to have staff reintroduce the item to council.

“I think this ordinance has the opportunity for us to strike a balance of interests in the neighborhoods,” Rohan said.

Councilman Tim Herman and Councilman John Allard said they aren’t interested in considering the item because of the uncertainty over medical marijuana laws at the state and federal levels.

“I really don’t have any interest in bringing that back,” Herman said. “I think right now between the state and feds trying to figure out what the medical marijuana law is, we have an idea that our air pollution control district might be able to deal with this.”

In October, a decision by California’s 2nd District Court of Appeals in Pack v. Long Beach ruled that local regulations for medical cannabis and permitting for dispensaries are preempted by federal law. Since then, cities across the state have suspended permits for dispensaries.

The court also found that California’s decriminalization of the possession and cultivation of medical marijuana, when done pursuant to a physician’s recommendation, isn’t preempted by federal law.

Roseville has never allowed dispensaries within city limits, which means residents often grow their own medical marijuana.

In January, the California Supreme Court accepted the review of four marijuana cases, including Pack v. Long Beach.

Roseville Assistant City Attorney Bob Schmitt said the city would consider the legal issues involved when brining the proposed ordinance back to council.

“The law is pretty unsettled and uncertain at this time and it’s difficult to assess what kinds of liabilities may take place if we move forward with something because we can’t know how the California Supreme Court will rule,” Schmitt said.

Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at SenaC_RsvPT.